Perceptions of Welfare

May 23, 2011

Q. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Total agree Total disagree Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know
Households earning more than $150,000 a year don’t need help through family payments 67% 27% 29% 38% 20% 7% 6%
Households on high incomes pay high taxes so should get family payments for bringing up children 33% 61% 7% 26% 41% 20% 7%
Welfare payments should only go to those on low incomes 66% 29% 23% 43% 23% 6% 5%
All taxpayers, regardless of their income, should be eligible for some form of Government payment 35% 57% 8% 27% 36% 21% 8%
Family payments aren’t really welfare – they just provide assistance for families raising children. 60% 32% 14% 46% 23% 9% 7%
Welfare payments should be reduced for those who have been on them long term. 41% 48% 15% 26% 33% 15% 12%
Welfare and family payments should be lower to encourage people to be more self-reliant and not rely so much on the Government 40% 50% 12% 28% 35% 15% 9%
People on low incomes receiving welfare should have to justify how they spend it 47% 46% 13% 34% 31% 15% 6%
Welfare for low-income families is different from family payments to middle-income families 61% 22% 14% 47% 18% 4% 17%
The purpose of welfare payments is to reduce the difference in income between people with higher incomes and those with lower incomes 40% 49% 8% 32% 36% 13% 11%

About two-thirds of respondents agreed that “Households earning more than $150,000 a year don’t need help through family payments” (67%) and “Welfare payments should only go to those on low incomes” (66%).  Although these statements were more strongly supported by Labor and Greens voters, 61% of Liberal/National voters agree that “Households earning more than $150,000 a year don’t need help through family payments”.

For households earning under $100K, 77% agree “Households earning more than $150,000 a year don’t need help through family payments” and 73% agree “Welfare payments should only go to those on low incomes”.

However, of households earning $150K+, 62% disagree that “Households earning more than $150,000 a year don’t need help through family payments” and 50% disagree that “Welfare payments should only go to those on low incomes”.

Although most respondents (60%) think that family payments are different from welfare benefits, only 33% agree that “Households on high incomes pay high taxes so should get family payments for bringing up children”.

Opinions are divided over issues regarding the obligations of people receiving welfare. 47% agree that “People on low incomes receiving welfare should have to justify how they spend it” and 46% disagree – 58% of Liberal/National voters agree but 55% of Labor voters disagree.

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